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Jun 25
Why Cant I Get A Free Lawyer Appointed To Represent Me In My Family Law Case?

The Washington Supreme Court decided this issue in the case of In Re the Marriage of King, 162 Wn.2d 378 (2007). You can get a copy of the full decision from the following link: http://www.mrsc.org/mc/courts/supreme/162wn2d/162wn2d0378.htm. In King, the court decided that an indigent parent has no right under the Washington State Constitution to appointment of counsel at public expense in a civil family law proceeding.

The facts of King. Brenda and Michael King were married for approximately 10 years and had three children. During the marriage, Brenda was the primary at-home caregiver. In September 2004, the parties separated and Michael filed for dissolution of the marriage and asked to be named the childrens primary residential parent. He was represented throughout the case. Brenda was represented for a time, but was pro se for her five-day trial. Michael was awarded primary care of the children and Brenda was granted a visitation schedule and joint decision-making. Following trial, Brenda obtained counsel and moved for a new trial and requested that counsel be appointed to represent her at public expense. The superior court denied the motion, explaining that the legislature had not provided funding for counsel. The court also cited its lack of authority to appoint an attorney without compensation. Brenda appealed. The Washington Supreme Court affirmed the trial courts denial of Brendas request for appointment of indigent counsel.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 March 2010 00:03
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